Santa Monica is set to hire René Bobadilla as the city’s newest City Manager following a vote taken Tuesday night by City Council.
In order to address any timing contingencies, Council agreed to seek to retain John Jalili as the Interim City Manager for a period of transition. Jalili will then assume responsibility of the position once current Interim City Manager Lane Dilg vacates the position until Bobadilla takes the reins.
The city has been without a permanent chief executive since Rick Cole resigned in April 2020, but Council believes Bobadilla’s experience in running city organizations will allow him to step in to the job and hit the ground running.
Having held city manager positions in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Huntington Park and El Monte since 2010, Bobadilla brings a depth of experience and a background in economics that local leaders said will prove valuable as Santa Monica seeks to expedite its communitywide recovery from the pandemic.
“We had 62 applicants and after numerous interviews and an in depth review into the background and experience of each finalist, we are fortunate to have selected a City Manager with the skill set Mr. Bobadilla brings to the position,” Councilmember Oscar de la Torre said. “Our City, local businesses and residents deserve a person with integrity, proven success and a passion for solving problems in their City Manager. I look forward to working with City Manager Rene Bobadilla to make Santa Monica shine again.”
Fellow Councilmember Gleam Davis originally voted against the hiring but changed her vote to yes in the interest of making sure that Council is united in its desire to see Mr. Bobadilla succeed, she said Tuesday.
She declined to explain why she voted no on Wednesday. Instead, she said, “I look forward to working with Mr. Bobadilla as we build a forward-looking, socially just, and economically and environmentally sustainable city where everyone in the community thrives.”
With approval from Council secured, Jalili is expected to transition into the role soon and will officially hold the post upon Dilg’s departure on June 24.
Mayor Sue Himmelrich clarified negotiations are still underway as of Wednesday, when she shared she is thrilled to have named an executive officer for the city.
“René an experienced city manager whose more than decade of experience leading cities in eastern Los Angeles County will allow him to hit the ground running on our community priorities of a safe and clean Santa Monica, addressing homelessness, and an equitable and inclusive economic recovery,” said Himmelrich. “René is an extremely affable and energetic leader who has a deep grasp of complex fiscal management and municipal operations. The Council very much looks forward to the community and the talented City team getting to know City Manager Bobadilla in the weeks and months to come.”